Environment Secretary George Eustice clashed with BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker in a heated migrant row. The pair were discussing the current migrant crossing crisis following the news that at least four people have died, including two children, in an attempt to cross into the UK on a boat. Mr Walker warned that the UK could see more incidents like this due to the reduction of safe ways to seek asylum in the UK.
Mr Eustice denied this and argued it was the fault of criminals enticing migrants to pay them to get into the country illegally.
Mr Walker said: “The guest that we spoke to from Safe Passage said yes there is a focus on those gangs but the problem, from their perspective, is that there is a lack of safe and legal routes to come to the UK.
“She pointed to the scheme for unaccompanied children which was closed down earlier this year.
“The family reunion route will stop from January 1 so without those safe and legal routes to come to the UK, we are going to see more of what people predicted would happen in these months because people are desperate to get here.”
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Mr Eustice disagreed and highlighted the work the UK has been doing over the years for those seeking asylum status.
He said: “I don’t accept that.
“The UK, since 2015, has been in the top five countries in the world in terms of resettling refugees.
“We have resettled more refugees through the formal route than any other EU country.
He said: “What is happening here is you have got criminal gangs that are taking money from people and encouraging them to make this dangerous crossing.
“There is no reason for them to make this crossing as they are in safe countries.
“They are in the EU, they are in France, there isn’t a rational reason as they are not in danger so there is no reason for them to make the particular crossing.
“They are being encouraged to do so by gangs that are taking their money.”